Thanks, Anneke!

This bodice for this fancy-pants dress was drafted using this wonderful tutorial from Anneke Caramin‘s super blog! Seriously, if your basic block is just itching to be manipulated and you’ve got dart rotation on your mind then WAIT NO MORE! Anneke has done a handy tutorial on her blog post which is really easy to follow. Thank you so much, Anneke!

I followed Anneke’s tutorial for the bodice and waistband but I changed it up a bit by just adding a simple circle skirt. I made this dress to wear to my friend Catriona’s wedding in St. Andrew’s in May and it was a fun dress to wear for ceilidh dancing!

 

 

I was having too much fun at the wedding to have the foresight to take pictures of me wearing the dress where you can properly see it but here is a shot of my friend Grace and I showing off our shoes among some confetti just to prove I did actually wear the dress to a wedding!

 

On the Terraces

I’ve been wanting to make a ‘swing tent’-style dress ever since my flatmate rocked up in our kitchen wearing a lovely one. A t-shirt dress with evenly dispersed flare for maximum swishing is a style that ticks that much sought after ‘feels like wearing pyjamas but looks quite stylish’ box. After a bit of googling I found this wonderful tutorial from Ebony H’ at ‘SewStylist’. I was half way through making the pattern for this dress when Heather from Closet Case Patterns released her Ebony dress pattern which Heather says was inspired by this very tutorial! I half considered downing tools and just buying the pattern but I’m glad I drafted it myself using my own block as it fits perfectly around my neck and shoulders. The tutorial shows you how to make the dress by adapting the Grainline Scout tee but as I don’t have that pattern I just used my own block to make a simple t-shirt first and then adapted that pattern.

I initially planned to make up a test version in this shiny velour jersey fabric before making the ‘real’ version in some nice grey jersey but I actually couldn’t be happier with how this ‘test’ dress turned out and it has earned a place in my wardrobe in its own right! I’ve had the fabric for a few years now (bought from a stall at the Marché des Abattoirs in Anderlecht) and it was one of those ‘magpie moments’ when you buy something a bit mad and shiny which then sits on your shelf for ages because you don’t know what to do with it. So I’m happy to have finally found a use for it! I like how the dress looks with and without a belt.

The photos were taken in Nivelles (where my boyfriend comes from) when we were having a walk around the town. When I saw this very stylish spectator stand at the running track I thought it would be the perfect spot for an impromptu photo shoot 🙂

Just make something

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This dress came together one Sunday this summer in a way which I wish happened all the time. I was pottering about thinking I’d like to make something but not really settling on any one idea. Then my eyes fell on a skirt I’d got in Les Petits Riens ages ago with the intention of altering it. Before I knew what was happening I was drafting a bodice – inspired by the original waist tie of the skirt, which became the straps – and pulling out the skirt pattern from my Colette Patterns Truffle dress to go with it.

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The whole thing came together really quickly and I was really focused on the task. Not only did I really enjoy the process of making it but I love the result too. For me that is the ultimate sewing feeling. Making something in a flurry of positive energy which you love and will wear.

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My first instinct is to think that it would be great if it was like that all the time. But if it wasn’t for those days when I can’t get focused and I make something that makes me feel less than thrilled then I wouldn’t know how good those other great days feel. And, while we might not realise it at the time, it is those ‘awful’ days that prepare us for the good days.

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A friend recently told me that she was struggling to build confidence to write more, doubting why she was doing it and what she had to say etc. Then a friend said to her that it didn’t matter if what she wrote was ‘good’ or not, or even if she read it back. What mattered was writing everyday as that way she’ll be ready when her ‘good’ ideas come.

So I need to remember to remind myself to just make something, anything. Regardless of whether it invokes feelings of confidence and positivity or self-loathing and despair, it will make me feel alive!

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Rosari

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I really love A-line shaped skirts and have seen so many nice versions over the last few months as 1970s-style skirts seem to be all over the place.

So when I saw the Rosari skirt from Pauline Alice online I added it to my ‘want list’ of patterns but said to myself I didn’t really need it…and then I subsequently bought it when I saw it in a new sewing shop in Etterbeek, ‘Chipote et Papote’…whoops.

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I decided to sew a winter-appropriate version so I used this purple/white wool which I got at the Marché des Abattoirs ages ago and I used the last remaining pieces of the best lining fabric I’ve ever come across (bought in La Maison des Tissus). It’s a kind of ‘lined lining’ – shiny and slidy on one side but rougher on the other side giving it a ‘sturdy drape’ (if that is such a thing!).

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I worked on this over Christmas at home in Scotland and finished it back in Brussels and I’m really happy with the result and have worn it pretty much all of January! For once I actually made something that was missing in my wardrobe that I really needed; a basic skirt which is still interesting enough that I enjoy wearing it!

The pattern comes with lots of great pocket options too. I prepared pocket version C but didn’t use it in the end as they didn’t really work in this busy and bulky fabric. It’s great when what is a relatively simple pattern comes with great additional options and well-written instructions so you feel it was worth your while getting! 🙂

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A new favourite coat part 3: it’s finished!

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A few weeks ago I finished my coat – finally! You can read my previous two posts about my adventures in coat making here and here.

When I finished it at first I had that feeling you have when you finish a sewing project and you’re not sure if you are happy with it or not yet. I left it to grow on me for a wee while before daring to wear it out the house. I’m now home in Scotland for Christmas and I’ve even brought it with me as my ‘coat of choice’ for the trip!

It’s far from perfect but I love the shape of the coat and the fabric is great as it goes with everything but isn’t dull. For my next such coat adventure I’ll make sure I add a collar – I feel that is definitely missing! I added a decorative wooden button too which I think it goes really well with the blue and black checked fabric.

For the lining I used a thick almost tweed-like material from Berger. I knew I didn’t want a cheap polyester lining and I wanted it to be breathable too. So far I’m happy with it and it is keeping me warm.

This was a project I’m really proud of and I’m really happy I drafted/rubbed off my own coat pattern rather than using an existing pattern – I definitely learnt a lot!

I think I must have caught the coat making bug as I’ve already nearly finished another coat – a waterproof! I’ll be back in January with some pictures – once I work out how to add snap buttons (way more complicated than it looks).

Before leaving for the holidays I got some pictures of my new lovely coat out and about on the mean streets of Brussels.
Happy Christmas everyone – here’s to unpicking, topstitching, backstitching – and to sewing adventures in 2016!

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